Startup

VIZIYA acquired by WiLAN for $40.5 million

 

OTTAWA, Ontario and Hamilton, Ontario – May 4, 2017 – Wi-LAN Inc. (“WiLAN” or the “Company”) (TSX:WIN) (NASDAQ:WILN) and VIZIYA Corporation and its related entities (“VIZIYA”) today announced that the two companies have entered into a definitive agreement for WiLAN to purchase all of the issued and outstanding shares of VIZIYA. VIZIYA is a software and services provider that helps companies optimize their asset performance. All financial information in this press release is reported in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated.

VIZIYA’s asset management software help its many Fortune 1000 customers optimize their asset performance and uptime, allowing them to achieve their production targets, control costs, and manage safety and compliance.  Increasingly these asset management systems are an important part of the broader Industrial Internet of Things (“IIoT”) ecosystem, which represents a significant growth opportunity for VIZIYA.

“WiLAN, to be renamed Quarterhill in the second quarter of 2017, is focused on growth by identifying, acquiring and supporting IIoT companies with strong management teams, attractive financial fundamentals and promising growth potential; VIZIYA meets all these criteria,” said Shaun McEwan, interim CEO of WiLAN. “This is the second acquisition that follows our new growth plan and we believe that investing our capital in these promising technology businesses will drive the greatest shareholder returns over time.”

“VIZIYA has enjoyed substantial growth and profitability, and this transaction with WiLAN will give us the access to resources that will help us continue to build and grow our business,” said John Vujicic, President and CEO of VIZIYA. “The VIZIYA management team will remain in place and I want to personally assure our customers that our commitment to supporting your needs, and giving you the high level of personal service you are accustomed to, remains our top priority.”

The introduction of the IIoT enables organizations to builds intelligent connected equipment that monitors itself and constantly captures data to measure damage, wear and tear and other operational indicators. With significantly more data obtained on a real-time basis, operational systems can now move beyond preventative maintenance towards predictive maintenance through the use of analytics. Predictive maintenance reduces downtime and maximizes efficiencies.  

WiLAN’s cost of the acquisition is approximately $40.5 million with nearly 60% paid on closing and the balance subject to certain earn out provisions if the business meets specific financial targets.  Certain aspects of the transaction remain subject to the approval of The Toronto Stock Exchange. VIZIYA achieved revenue of $16.6 million and normalized EBITDA of $4.3 million for the year ended July 31, 2016.

WiLAN will fund the cash portion of the acquisition with cash and cash equivalents on hand, which at March 31, 2017 was $151.2 million (USD $113.6 million). The cash and cash equivalents total at March 31, 2017 does not account for the Company’s $63.5 million cash-purchase of International Road Dynamics, announced on April 17, 2017. That transaction is expected to close on, or about, June 1, 2017. Canaccord Genuity acted as exclusive financial advisor to WiLAN on this transaction and STS Capital Partners UK acted as exclusive financial advisor to VIZIYA.

About VIZIYA

Headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, with offices in Brussels, Brisbane, Perth, Atlanta, Cape Town, Qatar, and Dubai, VIZIYA is the industry leader providing bolt-on software products to enhance ERP-based asset management systems. VIZIYA’s proprietary WorkAlign® Product Suite delivers seamless integration into existing ERP systems. With over 55,000 users at 850 sites across six continents, the world’s best companies use VIZIYA products to help them better maintain their assets.

About WiLAN

WiLAN is one of the most successful patent licensing companies in the world and helps companies unlock the value of intellectual property by managing and licensing their patent portfolios.  The Company operates in a variety of markets including automotive, digital television, Internet, medical, semiconductor and wireless communication technologies.  WiLAN has announced plans to change its name to Quarterhill Inc. (“Quarterhill”) in the second quarter of 2017 after which, WiLAN, the patent license business, will become a subsidiary of Quarterhill.  Founded in 1992, WiLAN is listed on the TSX and NASDAQ.  For more information: www.wilan.com

Forward-looking Information

This news release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other United States and Canadian securities laws.  Forward-looking statements and forward-looking information are based on estimates and assumptions made by WiLAN in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and the expected effects of new business strategies, as well as other factors that WiLAN believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Many factors could cause WiLAN’s actual performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements or forward-looking information. Such factors include, without limitation, the risks described in WiLAN’s February 10, 2017 annual information form for the year ended December 31, 2016 (the “AIF”). Copies of the AIF may be obtained at www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov. WiLAN recommends that readers review and consider all of these risk factors and notes that readers should not place undue reliance on any of WiLAN’s forward-looking statements. WiLAN has no intention, and undertakes no obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

All trademarks and brands mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners. 

For media and investor inquiries, please contact:

Shaun McEwan
Interim CEO
WiLAN Inc.
T: 613.688.4898
E: smcewan@wilan.com

John Vujicic
President and CEO
VIZIYA Corp
T: 905.544.4144
E: John.Vujicic@viziya.com

Dave Mason
Investor Relations
LodeRock Advisors Inc.
T: 613.688.1693
E: dave.mason@loderockadvisors.com

QReserve wins $50k IRAP for R&D

 

Hamilton, Ontario, March 13, 2017 — QReserve Inc. announces that it has been awarded a non-refundable financial contribution of up to $50,000 from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).

With this award, IRAP’s total contribution to QReserve’s research and development program is $70,000 since 2015. This new funding will be used to boost the research, development, and expansion of QReserve’s resource management and promotion platform. With these resources, QReserve is better positioned to support the cutting-edge requirements of Canadian and international research organizations. This will give QReserve a clear competitive advantage in both national and global markets.

“QReserve is riding a tremendous wave of growth right now. It’s very exciting. This contribution from IRAP will allow us to respond to several market demands that will have immediate and significant growth opportunities for QReserve both within Canada and abroad. This award has already resulted in the creation of at least one new full-time position and more to come in the near future”, says QReserve’s Chief Strategy Officer, Graeme Brown.

QReserve’s resource management and promotion platform is currently focused at scientific research facilities and has experienced an astonishing 1,800% growth rate in the past year. This IRAP contribution will be leveraged to implement new features that have been highly requested by the research community and that are key requirements for enterprise wide implementations.

QReserve’s platform is already positioned to provide unprecedented insight into resource utilization and capacity within research organizations. Using QReserve’s cloud based software platform, organizations gain access to quantitative reports that can be used to justify funding and investment opportunities to researchers and administrators. This contribution will expand these capabilities and ensure QReserve becomes a dominate platform in research facilities world-wide.

About NRC-IRAP

The National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) is Canada’s premier innovation assistance program for small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs). It is a vital component of the NRC, a cornerstone in Canada’s innovation system, and regarded world-wide as one of the best programs of its kind. Further information can be found at http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/irap/index.html.

About QReserve Inc.

QReserve Inc., was founded in 2014 and offers state-of-the-art resource management tools that streamline resource access, improve utilization, decrease excess capacity, and report on critical capacity measurements that lead to revenue generation, investment justification, and capability promotion. QReserve aims to improve the visibility and transparency of public and private sector organizations by aligning resource owners with resource users. QReserve is located at the McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Ontario.

 

QReserve accepted to CDMN Soft Landing Program

 

Hamilton, Ontario, March 10, 2017 — QReserve is proud to announce their acceptance into the Canadian Digital Media Network’s (CDMN) Soft Landing program to further expand into international markets during the second quarter of 2017.

QReserve is riding on a strong year of growth with an 1,800% increase in registered users. QReserve will leverage the Soft Landing program to be physically present in the United Kingdom, which will increase their growing user base and strengthen engagement with university officials to further deploy QReserve’s platform.

“We are seeing tremendous enthusiasm from research groups within UK universities. We’re excited for this opportunity to visit in person to meet with our users, meet with university administrators, and begin stronger and more widespread rollouts of QReserve’s platform across the UK.”, says QReserve CEO, Dr. Brandon Aubie.

Given the high number of strong research focused universities within a geographically dense are, the United Kingdom is a key market for QReserve to focus on international expansion. QReserve’s laboratory management and promotion platform is currently deployed in laboratories across the UK including at the University of Sheffield, University College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Exeter, the University of Hull, the University of Leeds, Northumbria University, the University of Glasgow, the University of Plymouth, and several other research focused organizations.

The CDMN Soft Landing program “helps mature startups and small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) from across Canada to grow their businesses through new revenues or investments in foreign markets.”
CDMN Soft Landing Press Release dated February 23, 2017

About QReserve Inc.

QReserve Inc., was founded in 2014 and offers state-of-the-art resource management tools that streamline resource access, improve utilization, decrease excess capacity, and report on critical capacity measurements that lead to revenue generation, investment justification, and capability promotion. QReserve aims to improve the visibility and transparency of public and private sector organizations by aligning resource owners with resource users. QReserve is located at the McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Ontario.

 

KiDi SMS featured in InnovatorsRace50

 

Hamilton startup KiDi SMS is featured in the InnovatorsRace50!

KiDi SMS is a web-based gamification program to incentivize self-management in children. KiDi SMS was implemented for use at McMaster Children’s Hospital, and a pilot study found that 91% of users reported that they felt more motivated to self-manage using KiDi SMS.

InnovatorsRace50 has startups competing for votes across five categories: Govtech and Social Enterprises, Fintech and Mobility, Consumers and Well-Being, Digital Processes and Transformation, Data and Security. Five winning startups can receive $50,000 in funding, as well as mentorship and other benefits.

You can vote for KiDi SMS here!

 

 

Cinnos patents Smart Mission Critical Rack

 

HAMILTON, OntarioFeb. 16, 2017 — Cinnos Mission Critical Incorporated (Cinnos), a technology startup based in Hamilton, ON continues to demonstrate their innovation. Having introduced their data centre appliance to the world, they have now been granted a patent (No. US 9,572,276, see here for more details), for their innovative work.

The patent discloses a high-density, cost and energy-efficient integrated infrastructure within an enclosed space that enables the same level of performance and uptime as a traditional data centre. These benefits are delivered to customers for a fraction of the cost and a significantly reduced deployment time. Among other proprietary and novel aspects, the patent claims a high-density, scalable system with movable and reconfigurable subsystems, including integrated precision cooling, power inverters, fire suppression and monitoring by an intelligent control system.

The benefits of the Cinnos systems are multifold. For large enterprises, it allows them a far more rapid deployment of data centers, with lower capital investments and operating costs, as well as faster revenue generation, translating into significantly higher ROI. For small and medium enterprises, Cinnos enables them for the first time to acquire their own high performance micro datacenter for a very affordable price, giving them more control of their data while eliminating any latency.

“This is a major milestone for our company, proving the novelty and usefulness of our technology and giving us a powerful competitive advantage over all the other technologies out there that claim to be modular but offer no tangible technical enabler or customer benefit,” said Hussam Haroun, CEO and co-founder of Cinnos, and the inventor of the Smart Mission Critical Rack.

About Cinnos

Cinnos has developed and commercialized the world’s first “data center in a box” that enables immediate deployment and a pay-as-you-grow model for data centers. Thanks to its proprietary modular design, The Cinnos SmartMCX™ enables immediate deployment of data centres for a fraction of the cost of traditional mission critical facilities thereby accelerating revenues and resulting in dramatically higher ROI. For more information, please visit http://cinnos.com.

Contacts: Brook Azezew
brook.azezew@cinnos.com

 

First ever F#ck up Friday event October 21st

fuckupfriday

 

When: Friday October 21st 2016 from 8:00am – 10:00am

Where: CoMotion 302 at 302 Cumberland Avenue Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: CoMotion 302

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/fck-up-fridays-tickets-28224865332

 

bronwynEver feel like you are doing everything wrong while everyone else has got it right? That’s where F#ck Up Fridays come in. It allows entrepreneurs to share their stories of where they “f#cked up” and what they learned from it.

Everyone gets to share their stories and swap ideas. Once a month will feature a different keynote speaker and then open discussions. Meet with others and remind yourself you aren’t a F#ck Up.

Join us for the inaugural session October 21, with Keynote Speaker Bronwyn Mondoux.

Some of the topics covered include:

– HR Practices, contracts, and documentation

– Red flags & when to walk away

– Pricing structure & getting PAID!

– Confidence & Control (when it’s worth it, and when you let it go)

Breakfast will start at 8am with time for networking, then Bronwyn starts at 8:30!

 

Startup Grind hosts Matthew Sheridan

When: Wednesday September 14th 2016 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON

Cost: $10 early, $15 regular

Register: startupgrind.com/events/details/startup-grind-hamilton-presents-matthew-sheridan

 

Agenda:

6:00pm – Networking and Food
7:00pm – Fireside Chat
8:00pm – Networking

 

Nix

 

Speaker – Matthew Sheridan (NIX SENSOR LTD.)

Matthew Sheridan hails from McMaster University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering and Management i.e. the modern discipline that transcends the boundaries between Embedded Systems, Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering and Engineering while integrating the technical education of the engineer with a business education for management

After founding and being the chief executive of Nix Sensor Ltd., Matthew has pushed the company towards awards such as the 2016 Award for Engineering Project of the Year by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and the Hamilton/Halton Engineering Week Committee as well as the David E. Mitchell Award of Distinction and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Ontario Business Achievement Awards in 2015.

Nix Sensor is rapidly becoming a household name and a staple in the Hamilton community and beyond and Matthew is sure not to stop there.

 

Interview with Tasytt about new Obie Slackbot

obie3

 

Check out the interview below with Tasytt (@tasytt) about their new Slackbot product Obie.

 

What is Obie?

Obie is a Slack bot. He’s kinda like Siri, but for business. He helps teams store and organize their collective knowledge.

 

What kind of features does Obie have?

His functionality can be broken into ‘push’ and ‘pull’. Users can pull information by asking questions and Obie accesses knowledge recorded in Slack, in your Google Drive, and on our web platform to answer them. Conversely, he can push knowledge using Flows, which are like task lists on steroids. Everything happens in a Slack DM. As an administrator, you can create a task list or lesson, then assign it to anyone (or everyone) on your team to complete.

 

Why did you decide to develop Obie?

Our mission has always been to help companies organize their knowledge and make it universally accessible and useful. We found that companies want to solve their knowledge problem, but they balk at introducing yet another software. They have countless point solutions for business problems and their knowledge is already fragmented into different platforms and cloud storage apps. They are quite simply tired of new software. Beyond that, most employees hate their LMS (Learning Management Systems) and the administrators hate managing them. And for good reason—they’re just an online binder with cleaner design.

So we knew that we needed to deliver information and the value you might find in learning software without more software. Users need to access the knowledge they need right away and without switching apps (and mindsets). Given all that, a Slack integration made perfect sense for us. It’s the default place where people spend their work days and they’re really working to make developer’s lives easy.

 

obie1

 

Who is using Obie so far, and for what purposes? How has the response been to Obie?

We’ve had a great response so far, we were featured on Product Hunt and in Venture Beat and have been in talks with some larger companies who want to try it (although I can’t say whom). It’s the best feeling when someone just ‘gets’ it and loves your product.

Teams have been using it to plan for events, to bridge the gap on remote teams, to deliver lessons or refreshers, for checklists or to onboard new hires. Most people really like that Obie can search their cloud drive in addition to knowledge they ‘feed’ him—that way they don’t need to manually move all their content. Our most interesting use case so far has been wedding event planning, that’s something we never would have predicted, but in hindsight makes perfect sense!

 

What tools did you use to build Obie?

Our original platform was built with C# and ASP.NET MVC, but for the bot, we used the MEAN stack. We’re incredibly lucky that there’s a community of early bot developers and one team (Howdy) thought to create a framework for bot development as they went along, called Botkit. Botkit is written in Node.js.

 

obie2

 

What was the biggest technical challenges with developing Obie?

Having a framework and community is great, but we were faced with a unique challenge: unlike a team building a bot from the ground up, we were connecting it to our already robust Tasytt application. We don’t want to diminish other bots and the developers behind them, but it’s one thing to build a bot that connects to a weather API or even one that connects to a database. It is quite different to build a bot, make it conversational, and connect it to both a database and web platform.

Our CTO Alex Sopinka had also never written a line of NodeJS, but since he’s a rockstar, he was able to build the majority of Obie in under a month. His protege Carolyn Chong, along with the rest of the team, did an amazing job testing and breaking the early Obie so that we could tighten him up and ensure he’s stable.

 

How can the local community help Tasytt make Obie a success?

If you use Slack, try him out and let us know what you like, hate or want to see! The majority of the functionality is free though we do have some premium features like reporting and analytics. It’s also a ridiculously simple setup process.

 

There’s been talk of chat being the “universal interface”. What are your thoughts on that? Do you see chat taking over more interfaces going forward?

There’s no doubt we’re going to see more bots and more companies choosing chat over a GUI, but we’re still very early on. Just like the first apps weren’t that useful, many of the bots out right now are pretty frivolous.

There are a few ways you can categorize bots: push vs pull; use of AI, ML, and NLP; standalone bot or counterpart to an existing app. There isn’t one combination that’s better, it depends what they’re trying to accomplish. A chat interface without NLP might work as a Calendar extension, but not for customer service. Unfortunately for bot developers, while being lean and working with an MVP is important, bots trying to ‘fake’ AI usually fail miserably.

 

tasytt-obie

 

Do you have any advice for startups in Hamilton?

Don’t let not being in the Valley, or even Waterloo, stop you from chasing your dreams. It doesn’t have to hurt your chances, but as soon as you modify your goals or let that become an excuse, it will.

 

Where are you hoping to take Obie next?

Right now we’re working on making it as easy as humanly possible to add information to a company knowledge base and access it right in Slack. Recording shorter form text is fairly simple, but we’re always cognizant of making it easy to attach rich media since most people find it easiest to learn from a combination of images, audio and text. Each piece of knowledge or step in a Flow needs to be short enough that people actually consume the information, but not so short that the medium becomes useless.

We recently implemented an upvote/downvote feature so you can help ‘train’ Obie. I’m also really excited about some of the newer NLP and the background AI that we are working on. I’d love to say more about that, but my business team won’t let me.

Later on, we’ll probably look into bringing Obie to other platforms: Facebook messenger, Skype, Telegram, Hipchat or Kik. The bot framework was designed to be fairly transferable to Facebook’s developer platform, but since companies are the primary buyer we’ll have to see if that makes sense.

 

REfficient Celebrates Customer Achievements during Earth Month

refficientHamilton, Ontario – April 20, 2016 – As April is Earth Month, REfficient recognizes that it is important to celebrate achievements, particularly of its champions. This year, Cogeco Connexion is acknowledged as an eco leader.

REfficient enables companies to be efficient with resources through their reduce-reuse-recycle concept. Products and materials that are reusable to others are sold, while the balance is recycled responsibly. As a result, companies get access to other business’ surplus inventory and materials, which can save a lot of money and get access to hard-to-find products.

Founded in 2010, REfficient now has a customer base in 14 countries that reused over 65,000 products in 2015. In 2016, REfficient has opened a warehouse store to give the broader public the ability to reuse products and materials outside of the traditional industries and uses, outside of the industries where they came from.

In the last three years, Cogeco has topped the Waste Diversion Champions list, diverting more than 100,000lbs annually from landfill through resale for reuse and recycling. They have also demonstrated an ongoing commitment to measure their sustainability stats and report on it both to the highest levels with their company and externally to customers and other stakeholders. “Cogeco is a great example of a sustainability leader. They care about it, include it in their processes and value the statistics. If only all other companies could be as forward-thinking like Cogeco,” says Stephanie McLarty of REfficient.

Working alongside partners like Cogeco, REfficient continues to support innovative ways that take the reduce-reuse-recycle and make a broad positive impact. A portion of proceeds from the product coming in through the Community Investment Program streamis donated to non-profits that address sustainability, entrepreneurship, and the local community. For Earth Day 2016, REfficient has made financial and product donations to Good Shepherd and Wildlife Preservation Canada.

About REfficient

REfficient’s transactional marketplace is built on a “triple-win” model, providing large companies a trusted and efficient way for deriving value from surplus inventory, while offering buyers reliable, often new equipment at savings of 20-50% over traditional sources. This innovative new green model benefits everyone by reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency. You can follow REfficient at @REfficient and www.facebook.com/REfficient.

Media Contact
Elena Doy
REfficient
905-544-5000 x5002
Elena.doy@REfficient.com

QReserve launches at Hamilton Health Sciences

machospital

 

Hamilton, Ontario, December 17, 2015 — QReserve is excited to announce the launch of their research collaboration portal at Hamilton Health Sciences with over 100 pieces of equipment and services available for collaborations between industry, academics and researchers.

QReserve provides an unprecedented window into the research resources available at Hamilton Health Sciences while helping administrators to track and better understand research asset utilization.

“We are always looking for ways to help our researchers form new collaborations and QReserve’s collaboration portal makes it even easier for potential collaborators to see our capabilities and to connect with us”, says Hamilton Health Sciences’ Director of Research Admin, Katie Porter.

She adds, “I see QReserve not only as a collaboration tool, but also a great administrative tool for tracking research assets – very helpful when applying for funding and for demonstrating the return on research investments.”

Hamilton Health Sciences is joining QReserve’s research portal containing over 4,500 research resources, services and facilities across Canada.

Find your next collaborator through the Hamilton Health Sciences QReserve portal at http://www.hhsresearchadmin.ca/partnership-collaboration/qreserve.

 

About QReserve Inc.

QReserve Inc. was founded in 2014 to help organizations better utilize their assets and to help people form new collaborative relationships. QReserve’s integrated asset management and collaboration platform is available for both public use and internal private use. QReserve operates out of the McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Ontario and received support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, FedDev Ontario, and Industrial Research Assistance Program.